ROCHESTER, Minn. - Gov. Tim Walz announced a loosening of COVID-19 restrictions, beginning Monday.
Bars and restaurants are increasing allowable occupancy to 75 percent up from 50 percent, with a limit of 250 people.
Local Rochester restaurants are looking forward to this next step toward fully reopening.
Nick Powers with Canadian Honker says he has noticed clientele confidence coming back.
The restaurant has been operating with only half its staff since the shutdown - and is now bringing staff back.
"You made changes - some of them you were forced to, some of them you did because it was better for the business and some of those will stay in place," Powers explains.
Saints on 2nd also tells KIMT it has been bringing back laid-off employees in preparation.
Food and Beverage Manager, Patricia Reddings, says the restaurant is anticipating more guests now that they won't have to wait long to dine-in.
"Our guests wanna get out, wanna feel normal, they wanna get out of the house - look it's a nice sunny day - let's go somewhere."
Reddings adds, “I really hope we're in full operation by May 1st - June 1st at the latest. Hoping we can keep going, little bit at a time. It's better than being closed."
Both restaurants tell KIMT they don't see takeout service going away - and it has helped businesses stay consistent.
Being located right near St. Mary's Hospital has also brought in business.
Restaurants are hopeful for the coming months, seeing this lift in restrictions as the light at the end of the tunnel.
Powers says, "What I believe is that this is really going to push through and we're going to be back to normal hopefully before we were really originally thinking."
While these new measures are set to take place Monday, Governor Walz urges Minnesotans to continue to wear masks and social distance.
Restaurants are still maintaining 6 feet of distance between guests to reduce the spread of the virus.
The limits apply separately indoors and outdoors. Bar seating increases to parties of 4.